MINISTER’S LETTER MARCH 2017
As February turns into March so the church turns into the season of Lent. Ash Wednesday falls on 1st March and we head off towards Easter and our celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. First though, we pass through the season of Lent. We will come to church and begin that period which is the time for reflection and making amends for all that is wrong with our lives, with the world and maybe even with the church. We will have the opportunity to come to church and engage in our Lent Study Group. At 1.30pm on every Monday in Lent, beginning 6 March, we shall gather to talk and listen together.
Everybody is welcome to join us in these conversations. We shall exploring together what we believe and what should we believe – as Methodists and as Christians. These groups will double-up as preparation for those of us who are seeking to join us as Church Members. If you are not yet a church member and would like to explore the possibility of becoming so, then do talk to me. If you have come to us from another area and another church, then it is an easy thing to transfer your membership to us at The Drive Methodist Church. If you come to us having never previously been a member of a church, then I would be extremely happy to talk to you about what is involved there. I do hope to be holding a service of Confirmation and Membership, around Easter time, at which new member will received. So give it some thoughts and have a conversation with me. Come along to the conversation groups on Monday afternoons.
Sometimes people say to me that they do not like to come to conversation groups as they feel that they do not know enough, or do not know the right things. Actually, that is the point. By talking together, we shall all get to see things a bit more clearly and feel that we know a little more about the things of our faith. Sometimes, though, we feel that we are surrounded by people who have things all sewn up and sorted out. Rarely is that the case in reality though. As often as not, the more we study the things of faith the more we realise that there is so much more to know. So, do not be nervous, cautious or intimidated by the invitation. And if you are not yet ready to talk, then h=just come and listen for a while.
It is important to listen isn’t it. We do need to listen to each other’s point of view and allow them to interact with our own points of view. The world would do so much better if we gave each other a good listening to! Yes, sometimes, people are so sure of their own viewpoint and opinion that they fail to hear the viewpoint and opinion of other people. Often people will give up something for Lent, chocolate, coffee or some such thing. Something that would be good for us to give up is what could be loosely described as blinkered certainty. It isn’t a failing that we find only in the church, it finds expression in all manner of places. It happens where and when we are so certain that we are right in our interpretation of events that we exclude others. It happens where and when we hold so tightly to our understanding of the way things should be done, about some point of belief or practice of church, that we limit the scope of diversity. Such an expression of certainty is the opponent of the unity towards which the church is challenged to work. Such an expression of certainty is the opponent of the tolerance which is the mark of Christ’s grace.
There are some things about which we should be certain. We can be certain that, in the end, God is God. We can be certain that, on the cross, Christ died for human sinfulness. We can be certain that, on the third day, God raised Christ and overcame the power of human sin and folly. In the light of these certainties, let us then set aside those blinkered certainties which misrepresent the truth and prevent the progress of God’s grace. Then we shall journey through Lent and reach Easter Day able to proclaim together that Christ is Risen!